Hundreds of years ago, towns and cities were built on rivers for the access to resources and the transportation advantages.
The river might not serve as the sole lifeblood of those towns anymore, but Matt Mittman is among those trying to prove that building in a river town still has strategic advantages.
Conshohocken, Pa., is a borough of more than 8,000 people, located in Montgomery County, on the north bank of the Schuylkill River, about 10 miles northwest of Philadelphia. Its location on the river and proximity to interstates and rail corridors make it an ideal place to start or relocate a business.
Now Mittman — a real estate agent who serves as a member of the city’s planning commission and as the chairman of the borough’s business development commission — is trying to get the word out.
“There is a main street, which is Fayette St., and it is full of retail shops and businesses. We’re also close to a number of main routes, such as Interstate 76 and 476, the Pennsylvania Turnpike and U.S. 202,” Mittman says. “I would tell a new business owner that we have just completed a revitalization plan, and a plan for the future of Conshohocken. And it digs down to what is needed in the borough. We already know that banks want to be here; we have Wawa (that) wants to be here. So there are other successful businesses that want to get into the borough.”
According to the revitalization plan, which Mittman helped construct, 20 percent of the approximately one square mile that comprises Conshohocken is zoned for commercial or borough use. Another 20 percent is used for manufacturing, while 40 percent is used for residential. The remaining 20 percent is related to transportation, including parking lots.
Above all else, Mittman says borough leaders want to see increased retail development, to help increase the profile of Fayette St., which runs southwest-to-northeast through the center of the borough.
Mittman says there are resources available to those who are interested in starting a business or relocating a business to Conshohocken. Chief among those is the business development commission.
“That is part of the reason we created the commission,” Mittman says. “To be the center point that can connect those businesses. We like to call ourselves a resource center, and if someone is looking to start a business in the borough and has specific questions, we can point them to the right spot. We can be the road map for them. If you were looking to start or relocate here, you would reach out to the borough hall. At that point, we’d provide you some resources to look over.”
The Conshohocken Borough Hall can be contacted at (610) 828-1092.
Population: 8,595 (2010)
Land area: 1.03 sq. mi.
Government system: Council-manager
Mayor: Robert Frost
Borough manager: Fran Marabella
Phone: (610) 828-1092